The Day the Gremlins Attacked


Gremlins 1

It started as any other day. Admittedly I had slept very fitfully. In hindsight, perhaps that was the start of it. The Gremlin attacks I mean.

I got up outrageously early for me. 0545 to be precise. That’s so not me! I’m not an early morning person at all. Anyway, this day I was. I fetched the morning newspaper in from the driveway where the nice delivery man always leaves it. My dog is too little to be able to manage retrieval so I haven’t even bothered to try and teach her.

As I unwrapped it from it’s plastic shroud, the coffee machine was gurgling away. Such an awesome smell first thing in the morning. The coffee that is. Sometimes I think the smell is nicer than the taste.

I settled down to my usual morning ritual. Coffee, yoghurt, paper. Browse through the articles, stopping for a read here and there when something caught my eye. I was traversing through to my favourite page. The comics. The scrambled words. The crossword. My mental gymnastics to kickstart the brain.

So far so good. All seemed to be going pretty smoothly. Apart from the sandy grit in my red eyes. Annoying but bearable.

There were a few annoying clues in the crossword too, now I come to think of it. Words that sat at the edges of my brain and refused to come out to the light of day. Then my eyelids started to droop. Then my head fell onto the table with a thump. That woke me up quick smart from the micro nap. I decided it was time to lie down for a slightly longer micro nap. And to nurse the swollen lump on my forehead.

I drifted in and out of a twilight zone for an hour or so. My faithful four legged friend snored in sweet repose at my feet. She’s very loud for a dainty little girl.

Gremlin 2

Once again, I got up. Still in my dressing gown, I headed for my office. I needed to print off an article. Only ten copies of a seven page document. Not a lot. Turning on the computer and printer, I navigated my way to the document in question. By the time I had it opened and printer commands entered, the humming and whirring of a printer waking up to its first job was just about over. It’s slow in the mornings. Like me. Actually, who am I kidding! It’s always slow to wake up. Drives me nuts sometimes. Figuratively speaking that is. I am generally of sound mind. Just a bit deranged around the edges sometimes.

I pressed the printer button. Command: ten copies of page one. Simple enough you would think. But oh noooo! Not this time. This is when the Printer Attack of the Gremlins started in earnest.

The printer sat and thought. And thought and sat. Spat out a blank page. Ok. It always does that first. Then it got into the swing of it. The pages emerged at more or less (more of the less) regular intervals. For a bit. Maybe two or three of them. Then I got an avalanche of empty pages. The printer stopped. Then it spat out half printed pages. And another avalanche of empty ones. By this time I was starting to get a little worried.

I looked for the “cancel print” button. Nowhere to be found! It had gone into permanent hiding. No doubt cowering in abject fear in that safe place where printer buttons go when their world has gone mad. The by now demonic printer kept on spitting out pages. It had turned into an unstoppable beast. Some blank, some normal (really?!) some half baked. I had no option but to kill it. Turn it off I mean.

Gremlin 3

The other half had emerged from slumber land by this time. Frantically I called for help. He wandered in yawning and scratching himself.  I explained the problem. In a perfectly reasonable and calm manner I thought. He looked blankly at me. So I turned the beast back on. He poked around a bit. A few seconds truth be told. Shrugged his shoulders and told me that when he has printer problems he just goes and buys a new one! Then I was told not to overload it. Duh! Ten pages is OVERLOAD?!

Having received scant help from my Knight on the White Horse (he was missing in action) I took a deep breath and started again. One page at a time. This gentle coaching into compliance eventually allowed me to tame the savage beast somewhat. I was able to print the document in its entirety. The whole sorry saga left me frazzled and edgy. Wasted a lot of my precious time. And left me with a ream of scrap paper to use up.

Alas, I have to report that this was not the end of the Gremlin attacks. There were glimmers of normalcy in my day. I was able to function. I was more or less in control of myself.

The next onslaught came in phases. Over two days. I was doing an on-line order. A very nice person at the receiving end very nicely let me know that there were a few errors in my order. It needed adjusting. I thanked her and did as asked. There was also one item out of stock. Did I want to order something else she asked?  I did. An email bounced back from the very nice lady telling me the replacement items were also out of stock. Did I want something else instead? I did. In no time at all I got an email titled “This is not your day…”  The replacement replacement items were also out of stock. So I sent another request with an optional list in the hopes that there was something on the list that was in stock still. I heard nothing further.

Until this morning. There was a missed call from the very nice lady. One of the items on my order had the wrong product code.  She had an amused tone of voice. I suspect she was trying hard not to laugh. Can’t blame her really! So I called back to thank her for letting me know and discuss the issue. My call was redirected to the company’s American headquarters as the Australian office is undergoing some major restructuring….Needless to say they were totally unaware of my dilemma. Very nicely so. They wished me a wonderful day. So I have sent yet another email to the very nice lady here in Australia confirming the order with the correct product code. Fingers crossed.

Gremlin 4

Back to yesterday. The Email Attack of the Gremlins had not helped settle my frazzled state of mind. The edges of mind derangement were spreading. However, being an optimistic person by nature, I took a hundred or so calming breaths and got on with my day.

In the evening I sat down, as is my wont, to write a post for my blog. Great. It flowed beautifully. No glitches. I was happy with the result and look of it. It needed minimal editing. I pressed “Preview” to have a final look and edit. What the #%$@* was going on?! You might have noticed there that my calm unruffledness was – well, not calm. (By way of explanation I just want to comment here that the ability to recovery from trauma is compromised and becomes more difficult with each successive episode. Bit like an old rubber band that has lost its bounce and elasticity.)

Back to the Preview. All was in good order EXCEPT the colour of my font. I am very happy and proud of the look of my blog posts. It has a soothing green background – green therapy. The text is pure white. Beautiful. Crisp, clean, easy to read. Evokes emotional serenity, peace, tranquillity. All things I wish to convey visually to my readers. Not this time. The text was black!! Horrible, nasty, evil black. Being an optimist, I thought perhaps  some unknown blog thing I am yet to learn about, being a relative newcomer, had turned my draft text black. So I did some minor editing. Then, holding my breath and crossing my fingers, hit “Publish’. Still black! I had a quick look at a few older posts. EVERYTHING was black.

It was time to investigate this font colour issue. With heavy heart I headed into the depths of WP Admin to search for related helpful hints. Nothing provided me the least inkling of an idea what had happened or what to do about it. So in the end I sent a desperate message of help to  the Happiness Engineers and turned the computer off with the Blog Gremlin Attack heavy on my mind.

I slept deeply, exhausted. This morning there was an email from the Happiness Engineers to say they are doing some bug fixing and are now looking at how to address the side effects (in my case aka the Black Font of the Blog Gremlin Attack). I hope they find them so my posts can return to the serenity and purity of white. And that this is the end of The Gremlin Attacks!

Gremlin 5

PS – you will notice that serenity has returned to my blog. It’s back to white!  The Happiness Engineers reign supreme. Thank you!!

© Raili Tanska

Images Pixabay

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